Can Canelo vs. GGG stack up to Mayweather vs. McGregor?

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AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Boxer Canelo Alvarez works out as he hosts an open-to-the-public media workout at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

Sun, Sep 10, 2017 (2 a.m.)

Knockout guaranteed?

Alvarez has 34 knockouts in 50 career fights, and for once, he won’t go into a matchup considered the more powerful puncher. Golovkin has 33 knockouts in 37 career fights, and is known for being boxing’s most devastating hitter. But Golovkin did settle for a unanimous decision in his last fight, a win over Daniel Jacobs in March where he looked a little less dangerous. That’s given fans of Alvarez, who is a slight underdog at plus-125 going into the bout, confidence that their hero can finish the fight. Golovkin vs. Alvarez feels like the rare boxing match where both sides are fully convinced their surest path to victory is through a knockout.

Often in lieu of discussing his own mega-fight, Saturday’s middleweight championship bout between Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena, De La Hoya spent the past several months trashing Mayweather vs. McGregor. He didn’t ease up after Mayweather’s 10th-round TKO win over McGregor, despite saying he was too busy promoting to catch any of the action.

“Canelo probably would have knocked (McGregor) out in one or two rounds,” De La Hoya told MMAFighting.com. “Canelo is a knockout guy; he’s a guy who’s not going to trick people into making a fight last longer than it should last.”

De La Hoya stood by his conviction that pitting a rookie boxer coming over from mixed martial arts against an all-time great like Mayweather was a “disgrace” and an “embarrassment” — and those were two of his nicer words. The whole campaign has put a great deal of extra pressure on Alvarez vs. Golovkin.

Mayweather vs. McGregor reportedly broke the pay-per-view sales record by garnering nearly 5 million buys, and drew generally positive reviews afterward. Alvarez vs. Golovkin, therefore, has a lot to live up to three weeks later.

Alvarez vs Golovkin

Pay-per-view card begins at 5 p.m. from T-Mobile Arena, with the main event expected to commence at approximately 7:30.

Tickets: $700-$20,000 on secondary market such as StubHub

Pay-per-view: $69.99 standard definition, $79.99 high definition

None of the involved parties are shying from the high expectations.

“This is a fight boxing can be proud of,” Golovkin said. “It’s boxing’s biggest fight. It’s a fight for history.”

Golovkin’s side — he’s promoted by K2 Promotions, as opposed to Alvarez’s Golden Boy — was more restrained in bashing Mayweather vs. McGregor. They only shared subtle knocks, such as referring to the Alvarez matchup as a “true fight.”

Click to enlarge photo

Boxer Gennady "GGG" Golovkin hosts an open-to-the-public media workout at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

Tarnishing a different fight has worked in relieving some of the criticism surrounding how long it took to book Alvarez vs. Golovkin. Boxing fans have demanded the showdown between the undefeated, 36-year-old Golovkin and the once-beaten, 27-year-old Alvarez for years.

It started being seriously discussed nearly two years ago, after Alvarez beat Miguel Cotto in November 2015, but both fighters competed three more times before agreeing to terms to face each other. Golden Boy took heat for the delay, as Alvarez even vacated his WBC title last year when the sanctioning body named Golovkin his mandatory challenger.

“The last two years, I lose interest, because after every fight Golden Boy said, ‘No. OK, maybe next fight,” Golovkin told HBO.

De La Hoya said he was merely biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to pit two of the best boxers in the world against each other. It’s hard to argue against demand for Alvarez vs. Golovkin currently being at its highest, with T-Mobile Arena selling out in days and the pay-per-view expected to easily surpass the coveted 1 million-buy threshold.

With the way it has been promoted, the real question is whether Alvarez vs. Golovkin can deliver a better fight than Mayweather vs. McGregor.

“On Sept. 16, they will know what two pure boxers will be demonstrating and showing,” De La Hoya said. “You’ll find out what a boxing match is.”

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